Bollywood strikes up romance with Colombia

New Delhi: Having found an audience of its own in countries of Asia and Europe, Bollywood with its typical genre of dance and foot-tapping songs, and emphasis on family values is now striking up a new romance with the football crazy Latin American nation, Colombia.

Especially in a country affected by violence and drug trafficking, the family values displayed deeply in Bollywood films are giving some people in Colombia a hope in a different way of life, say Colombian Bollywood enthusiasts.

"Bollywood is not well known in Colombia but it over the last four or five years it has started to gain more and more fans. Social networking sites are playing a very important role in promoting Indian films and the local channels also telecast some Bollywood movies," says Claudia Vega, co-founder of 'Amigos de India' (Friends of India) association.

The Bogota-based association, which has received official support of the Embassy of India, carries out cultural activities and aims to promote friendship between India and Colombia.

'Amigos de India', which is the biggest Spanish speaking community promoting Indian culture, organises Bollywood dance shows to spread the typical genre in Colombia, says Claudia, who fell in love with Bollywood after watching Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit starrer 'Devdas' on a local TV channel.

Asked about the cultural influence of Indian films, Claudia says she thinks Bollywood — filled with themes of joy and love — not only offers an escape mechanism to a weary audience but can also contribute in reigniting love for family values, an ideal recalled in a country visited by bouts of violence.

Katherine Zarate Cristancho, a dedicated fan of the Indian movies and a passionate Bollywood dancer, agrees with Claudia.

"Bollywood is slowly growing in Colombia, having good acceptance. For most of the Colombians, Bollywood is a magical world where there is only joy and love," Katherine tells PTI over an e-mail from the second-largest Colombian city of Medellin.

"The themes, specially romantic dramas and musicals, have a mass following among the younger generation," says 23-year- old Katherine, who says she is a huge fan of Shahid Kapoor, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee.

At first glance, this Latin American nation would seem the unlikeliest of takers for the Indian movie culture, but Claudia feels the family-oriented Bollywood movies strike a chord with both the younger and older generations in her country.

"Colombia can be a good taker for the Indian movie culture because of family values shown in Bollywood movies.

Family values can help some Colombian people affected by violence and drug trafficking to have hope again, hope in a different way of life," Claudia tells PTI from the capital city of Bogota.